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Labour leadership contest: who are the runners and riders? | Politics


Rebecca Long-Bailey

Rebecca Long-Bailey

Rebecca Long-Bailey

A close ally of the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, Long-Bailey has been groomed as a potential leftwing contender for the top job, who launched a slick video about her backstory during the campaign. The Salford MP and shadow business secretary performed well as a stand-in for Corbyn in leadership debates.

During the election campaign, Long-Bailey spearheaded promotion of the party’s plan for a green jobs revolution and was forced to tackle tough questions over its decision to soften its stance on hitting net-zero carbon emissions.

Her father was a Salford docker and trade union representative, and she worked in several service industry jobs before qualifying as a solicitor. But given her close alliance with Corbyn and the left, and the rejection delivered by the electorate on Thursday, members may be nervous.

Emily Thornberry

Emily Thornberry,

Emily Thornberry,

The shadow foreign secretary had a quiet election campaign, which was viewed in some quarters as a sign she would run for leader if Labour lost the election. Others believed she was being kept quiet due to her remain position. She has been faultlessly loyal to Corbyn, despite not always having been on his leftwing side of the party. As a “girly swot” she believes she is good at taking on Boris Johnson. In her acceptance speech in Islington South and Finsbury, she said: “The real fight has to begin now.”

Thornberry will have to fight allegations of being part of the “metropolitan elite”. The image has plagued her ever since she tweeted a picture in 2014 of a house in the Rochester and Strood constituency adorned with three flags of St George and the owner’s white van parked outside, provoking accusations of snobbery. She resigned her shadow cabinet position shortly afterwards.

Thornberry’s formative years may have informed her politics. Her parents divorced when she was seven years old and she moved into a council house with her mother. She and her siblings took free school meals. But her politics remain elusive. She voted against her own government under Blair and Brown but backed Yvette Cooper in the 2015 leadership campaign. As shadow foreign secretary, she has always trodden a careful line that does not stray too far from the leadership on issues such as Russia, Israel and Trident.

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer

The ambitious former director of public prosecutions has led the charge for remain in the shadow cabinet. He has held his Holborn and St Pancras seat since 2015 and been instrumental in shifting Labour’s position towards backing a second Brexit referendum. The party’s stance on Brexit has been blamed by some for the staggering defeat suffered by Labour on Friday. This means Starmer’s ownership of the direction taken could prove problematic if he tries to convince the membership to appoint him as their leader.

Away from Brexit, his politics are less clear. Prior to taking the role of DPP, he worked as a defence lawyer specialising in human rights issues. The Human Rights Act and the broader aspects of the constitution in the UK are in the sights of the Conservative government so his expertise in this area could be a strong sell.

Starmer is the only male runner on this list. There have long been calls for the next Labour leader to be a woman, including most recently from John McDonnell, the party’s shadow chancellor. McDonnell himself, once considered to be a potential candidate, has ruled himself out, as has Richard Burgon, the shadow justice secretary. The Conservatives frequently dig Labour over the fact the party have never had a woman as leader and the Tories have had two female PMs.

Angela Rayner

Angela Rayner

Angela Rayner

The shadow education secretary, a close friend of Long-Bailey’s, said in recent days she would like to support a Labour Brexit deal. She is regarded as a powerful public speaker and was praised for her interventions during the campaign. Some senior Conservatives said they would fear her as an adversary.

On her policy brief, her most controversial moments focused on private schools, which she believes should no longer be subsidised through charitable status.

Rayner’s life is often described as inspirational. She grew up on a council estate in Stockport; had a mother who couldn’t read or write; left school without any qualifications; got pregnant at 16 and left home to bring the child up alone. She qualified as a social care worker and became Unison’s most senior official in the North West region. She describes herself as “soft left” and backed Andy Burnham in the 2015 leadership election.

Jess Phillips

Jess Phillips

Jess Phillips

The MP for Birmingham Yardley is a strong media performer who has built up a significant public profile from the backbenches. Her fiery speeches and witty barbs aimed at the Conservatives, including the prime minister, frequently go viral online. She is also considered a passionate advocate for her constituency and issues on the ground therein.

Corbyn-supporting Labour members are likely to be deeply suspicious of her, as she has frequently been critical of his leadership and the party’s approach to antisemitism.

She has not formally announced her candidacy but wrote a piece for the Observer after the election, which many have viewed as the start of her bid for leadership. The piece discusses the issues of trust with Labour on the doorstep and the challenge of bringing back working-class voters.

Lisa Nandy

Lisa Nandy

Lisa Nandy

The Wigan MP has said she is seriously thinking about running for the leadership. In a piece for the Guardian, Nandy said she believed that, taken individually, many of the policies in Labour’s manifesto were popular with the public and that the election was not won due to any real affection for Boris Johnson and what he stands for.

Nandy has built a reputation as a campaigner for her constituency and others like it, many of which have fallen to the Tories. She helped to create the Centre For Towns thinktank and called for compromise over Brexit.

A soft-left candidate, she resigned from the shadow cabinet in 2016 over Corbyn’s leadership and handling of the EU referendum. Like Phillips, she may be viewed with suspicion from Corbyn supporters.

Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper

Yvette Cooper ran against Corbyn for the leadership in 2015 and is viewed as a centrist. Therefore, she would be likely to face an uphill battle to convince the party membership she is the right person for the job.

After losing the leadership election, Cooper focused on becoming a prominent figure on the backbenches, delivering scathing blows to the government in the Commons and has mastered the policy detail on Brexit and home affairs, the latter of which she scrutinises in her role as chair of the home affairs select committee.

She has been an MP since 1997 and held positions including chief secretary to the Treasury and secretary of state for work and pensions when Labour was in government.



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General election: Council tax more likely to go up under Tories than Labour, IFS suggests – live news


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10.51am GMT

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has published a briefing on the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat plans for local government funding. This is not an issue that has attracted much attention in the campaign so far, but it deserves some focus because councils provide vital services – and the gap between what’s on offer from the Tories and Labour is vast.

Although the Conservatives claim to be a low-tax party, under their plans it is more likely that council tax would have to rise, the IFS suggests.

The money allocated by the Conservatives would not be sufficient to meet rising costs and demands over the next parliament even if council tax were increased by 4% a year, necessitating a further retrenchment in services or unfunded top-ups to the plans set out.

The Labour party has allocated more than enough money to meet rising costs and demands, allowing increases in service provision and quality, although not enough to restore them to 2010 levels. That is true even if council tax were frozen – although Labour has no plans for such a freeze.

10.24am GMT

In her BBC phone-in Nicola Sturgeon said she would like to see the SNP represented in the talks with the EU that would take place if Labour formed a government and negotiated a new Brexit deal. This issue came up in response to a question about fishing. Asked if the SNP would want to have someone negotiating alongside Labour on this, Sturgeon replied:

I want to make sure, in any of these discussions, the interests of the fishing industry were absolutely paramount, and that’s a commitment I would make on behalf of the SNP.

I think Scotland should be at the table in any of these discussions, all of the time, rather than being shut out by Westminster. And fishing is an example of the particular interests we have that mean that we should be much more represented.

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General election: Corbyn responds to chief rabbi by saying he won’t tolerate antisemitism ‘in any form’ – live news | Politics














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Upcoming bus, SeaBus shut down will hit harder than in 2001


The last major transit strike in Metro Vancouver was 18 years ago, and those who had a front-row seat say that with more people using transit now, the impact could be much worse if bus and SeaBus workers walk off the job next week.

Picketing is expected to begin on Wednesday, an escalation of job action that started on Nov. 1, with bus drivers refusing to wear uniforms and overtime bans for maintenance workers and later bus drivers.

Contract talks between Unifor, which represents the 5,000 transit workers, and their employer, Coast Mountain Bus Company, broke off for the second time last week, and no bargaining sessions are scheduled.

SkyTrain workers, who operate and maintain the Expo and Millennium lines, will return to bargaining with B.C. Rapid Transit Company this weekend ahead of planned mediation sessions next week.

As spokesperson for TransLink in 2001, Ken Hardie has clear memories of the last strike, which started when bus drivers and mechanics put up picket lines on April 1. That job action lasted for 123 days, until they were legislated back to work.

“It was a long one,” said Hardie, who is now a Liberal MP starting his second term. “There’s a significant loss in productivity when a major part of your transport network goes down like that, not only the fact that some people can’t get to work easily, but everybody else who will drive are going to see a lot more company out on the roads.”

Delta Coun. Lois Jackson was almost two years into her first term as mayor in April 2001, and recalls people walking, biking, carpooling and foregoing unnecessary trips during the strike.

“I think in the beginning it was kind of a shock to everybody, but as the days wore on, people found other alternate methods,” Jackson said. “It wasn’t easy, but people found their way, any way, to get to work.”

She said a lot more people will be affected and the weather and school breaks certainly won’t be in their favour this time around, but she believes, like before, people will adapt if the buses and SeaBus are shut down.

Metro Vancouver’s population has grown by about half a million people since 2001, and the transit system has seen double-digit increases in ridership in recent years, with 439.5 million boardings on the conventional system in 2018.

According to the 2001 Census, 11 per cent of people in Metro Vancouver used public transit to commute, and in 2016, the last Census, 21 per cent of commuters in the region took transit.

The bus system accounts for almost two-thirds of all transit journeys in the region.

Since the last strike, the number of daily bus boardings has increased by more than 60 per cent, from 570,000 in 2001 to an average of 931,000 each weekday in 2018.

The number of boardings for SeaBus has also increased, from 18,240 each day in 2001 to 19,690 on an average weekday in 2018.

Since the 2001 strike, TransLink has added three SkyTrain extensions: the Millennium Line, which opened in January 2002, the Canada Line, which opened in August 2009 and the Evergreen extension to the Millennium Line, which opened in December 2016. It has also since added about 500 buses and one SeaBus.

“Every year that goes by there’s more people relying on transit, and it’s always a real shame when the system doesn’t deliver to people who have come to rely on it,” said Hardie. “That’s very counterproductive because now people are going to be eyeing using the car again a little bit more if they can’t count on the bus or the SkyTrain to work.”

Ridership took a big hit thanks to the strike, with the number of boardings system-wide dropping to 160.9 million for 2001, compared to 229.7 million the previous year and 255.7 million the year after the strike.

Ujjal Dosanjh, who was the NDP premier when the strike started, remembers feeling helpless. Just two weeks after picket lines went up, a provincial election was called and his government was powerless to do anything. He said those who were hurt the most were those who could least afford it — students and workers with lower incomes.

“I don’t know why the new government didn’t deal with it quickly,” Dosanjh said.

His advice is to make sure this labour dispute doesn’t drag on as long as the 2001 strike.

“I know the rote response from any government, particularly from a social democratic government, is let the free collective bargaining work. There is some sense to that, there is no question, but if you have a much larger number of users now dependent on transit, then it becomes a lot more difficult to see it going longer than a few weeks,” he said.

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